ABSTRACT Pu-erh tea is one of post fermented tea manufactured through oxidative maturing by microorganisms. We investigated the preventive effects of pu-erh tea extract on oxazolone-induced type IV allergy in male (ICR) mice. Oral administration of 50 mg/kg water extract of pu-erh tea leaves resulted in significant preventive effects against mouse type IV allergy. The hydrophilic Theabrownin-like fraction (TBW-ND), with a high molecular weight of approximately 12,000 or higher, was prepared from pu-erh tea leaves by a solvent-extraction method, followed by Diaion HP-20 column chro-matography and dialysis. Oral and percutaneous administrations of TBW-ND at doses of 18.7 mg/kg and 0.037 mg/ear also resulted in significant preventive effects, which included preventing increases in levels of the proinflam-matory cytokine interleukin-12. The anti-allergic ingredients in TBW-ND were predicted to be highly complex compounds containing of polyphenols, polysaccharides and/or proteins. The results suggest pu-erh tea leaves could be a beneficial food for protecting against delayed-type allergy.
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